The New Authoritarianism

In the post Different Schools, we touched on the “progressive” belief that government is all-powerful and the person who heads that government is singularly empowered with the sum total of the governments authority. We posited that their belief that somehow people in government were a cut above the general populace and the higher up in the government hierarchy one is, the more elite they are.

James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal (via Twitter) pointed to a column in the City Journal by Fred Siegel and Joel Kotkin that takes that thesis and develops in into an expose of the actions of the Obama administration. They write:

“I refuse to take ‘No’ for an answer,” said President Obama this week as he claimed new powers for himself in making recess appointments while Congress wasn’t legally in recess. The chief executive’s power grab in naming appointees to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the National Labor Relations Board has been depicted by administration supporters as one forced upon a reluctant Obama by Republican intransigence. But this isn’t the first example of the president’s increasing tendency to govern with executive-branch powers. He has already explained that “where Congress is not willing to act, we’re going to go ahead and do it ourselves.” On a variety of issues, from immigration to the environment to labor law, that’s just what he’s been doing—and he may try it even more boldly should he win reelection. This “go it alone” philosophy reflects an authoritarian trend emerging on the political left since the conservative triumph in the 2010 elections.

The president and his coterie could have responded to the 2010 elections by conceding the widespread public hostility to excessive government spending and regulation. That’s what the more clued-in Clintonites did after their 1994 midterm defeats. But unlike Clinton, who came from the party’s moderate wing and hailed from the rural South, the highly urban progressive rump that is Obama’s true base of support has little appreciation for suburban or rural Democrats. In fact, some liberals even celebrated the 2010 demise of the Blue Dog and Plains States Democrats, concluding that the purged party could embrace a purer version of the liberal agenda. So instead of appealing to the middle, the White House has pressed ahead with Keynesian spending and a progressive regulatory agenda.

Much of the administration’s approach has to do with a change in the nature of liberal politics. Today’s progressives cannot be viewed primarily as pragmatic Truman- or Clinton-style majoritarians. Rather, they resemble the medieval clerical class. Their goal is governmental control over everything from what sort of climate science is permissible to how we choose to live our lives. Many of today’s progressives can be as dogmatic in their beliefs as the most strident evangelical minister or mullah. Like Al Gore declaring the debate over climate change closed, despite the Climategate e-mails and widespread skepticism, the clerisy takes its beliefs as based on absolute truth. Critics lie beyond the pale.

Read it all as if your life depended on it – because it just might..

14 thoughts on “The New Authoritarianism

    • M. needs to read that article on your blog about the scotch. I was intrigued. It reminded me of that prehistoric baby elephant that was preserved; you know that one that was on the cover of National Geographic? Not that I eat baby elephants, or drink scotch whiskey for that matter. I was just intrigued is all.

      • Perhaps M can bring us back a couple of cases, eh? I’m not a Scotch Whiskey drinker, though, preferring Gin or Vodka, although I’ll drink a Sour Mtn Dew occasionally. That’s an 18 oz. tumbler filled with ice, then fill the glass to within an inch and a half of the top with Crown Royal, finishing off with a splash or two of Mtn. Dew.

        Mike G.

        • Mountain Dew? Hmmmm….I’m a beer girl; but I can handle a gin with ruby red grapefruit juice. My husband swears by this rum called Mount Gay Eclipse Black (tastes like coffee to me) in addtion to the Glen Fiddich (yeck!).

        • Will have try that Mike. I’m Crown Royal and ginger ale man, myself. I also keep Mtn. Dew around the house. Sounds interesting.

  1. I would love to be able to edit (correct mispelings or change werding) on these posts like we can at the refugee forum. 😉

    • Don’t make me jealous of the Forbidden Sight, er, Site.

      Speaking of the refugees: Why don’t they ever come over here and play? Would it help if I waxed the legs and shaved the pits? Or is it that you just want me all to yourself?

      You know, FL, now that I’m a red head, I’m feeling rather fiesty. I think someone needs a spanking on this beautiful Sunday night. How does 8:00 sound?

      • I would come over and wax your legs and shave your “pits” (evil grin) but sadly, I have to go to work.

        Sometimes life just sucks!

        • I’ll stop by with the razor and the polish. I was thinking the “Orgasmic Orange”, but I think your choice is better since I’m wearing that little red number. That’s okay if I stop by, right? I promise I’ll be in and out in a jiffy. Just sneak me in the back like that time that we–well, you know……

          • Ohhhhhh – – the little red number again! I can’t wait! I’m out back waitin’ – – – – – – –

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